In response to a piece in which I thoroughly criticized the Iranian Intelligence regarding the arrest of American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, I was contacted by an Iranian diplomat who asked, me; if it’s all about human rights, why isn’t anybody talking about the three Iranian diplomats who have been taken hostage by the U.S. forces in Iraq since 2007?
What was he implying? What is the connection with the arrest of a journalist in Tehran and those three Iranian diplomats in Iraq? And is that the reason why the United States has been tragically unsuccessful in helping to release Saberi or other American-Iranians in prison? Read more
April 30, 2009 1 Comment
American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious and feared Evin prison last weekend. She had been arrested in January by Iranian authorities. Her family was initially told it was for buying a bottle of wine, illegal under the country’s Islamic laws. It later emerged she did not hold a valid press card, required by law and issued by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The charge was then changed to espionage, of which she was found guilty. Read more
April 25, 2009 2 Comments
BERKELEY, California, Apr 24 (IPS) - In an Apr. 6 address to the Turkish Parliament on the final day of his European trip, President Barack Obama praised Muslim Americans for “enriching the United States”.
However, according to Dr. Munir Jiwa, director of the Centre for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union of the University of California, Berkeley, “virulent Islamophobia” persists across the country.
Jiwa, who is also a professor of Islamic Studies, told IPS that among those who did not vote for Obama last November, there are even more anti-Muslims. “They think we have voted in someone who is, as they say, a ‘closet Muslim’, and they think that sometime, he will come out of the closet,” he said. Read more
April 24, 2009 1 Comment
HuffPost-After the announcement of her eight-year prison sentence, American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi’s attorney, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, told in a telephone interview from Tehran that Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Laureate will join the legal team of the case. Khorramshahi also said that he will appeal the sentence within the next 20 days. Roxana Saberi’s attorney believes that in order to prove such a serious charge, the case must clearly show intent in the crime, and his client’s case clearly lacks evidence of intent.
At what stage is your client’s case?
Both Ms. Saberi and myself have objected to the verdict. We have the right to request an appeal. We have 20 days in which to offer our reasoning for refuting the charges made against Ms. Saberi. After we have submitted our appeal, the case can be reviewed by a higher court. We are waiting to see what happens. Read more
April 22, 2009 1 Comment
BERKELEY, California, Apr 20 (IPS) - Since Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison last week on the charge of spying for foreign governments, human rights and press freedom groups have become increasingly critical of the political nature of her case and the harsh and unprecedented penalty.
A dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, Saberi, 31, grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. Five years ago, she moved to Iran and began working as a freelancer for a variety of news agencies, including National Public Radio, BBC and Inter Press Service. Read more
April 22, 2009 6 Comments
HuffPost-The Iranian intelligence services are constantly announcing the capture and arrest of spies that gather classified information for the Western countries. Roxana Saberi, an American-Iranian journalist is the latest person to be facing such a charge.
Most people who have been accused of spying are detained without access to a lawyer or any other fair and free judicial process including a just trial. Usually they are released from prison after a few months. Surprisingly, most of these people then leave Iran within a few more months. This has made the government in Tehran the only government on the earth that catches and releases its spies.
The authorities have announced that Roxana has accepted all of the charges. No surprise! Many prisoners do accept all the charges after spending a few months in solitary confinement under huge psychological and physical pressure. To understand why, here is a joke that masterfully tells the story of how Iran’s intelligence service operates: Read more
April 13, 2009 2 Comments
Did President Obama really bow the king of Saudi Arabia? It seems it was, and sure was a gaffe. I don’t think that is included in President’s foreign trips’ protocol. Barack Obama is humble but bowing the King of Saudi Arabia does not show a right sense of judgment, and more importantly, does not reflect the values that this nation is built on. I understand that the President is young and want to show a different picture of the United States and his predecessor, but there are better ways to do so. There is nothing special about Saudi Arabia to praise, except the subsidized oil the Kingdom provides for the United States. Honestly, it’s very hard to explain such an action!
April 9, 2009 Leave a Comment
Obama’s speech in Turkey’s Parliament sent a very positive to the Islamic World and the Middle Eastern countries. It will take time for the President to show that the change in rhetoric lead to change in action. Still, many in the Middle East do not believe that changes in the U.S. rhetoric towards the world is based on a change in its leadership discourse. Obama’s positive messages will be taken more seriously when his words and policies embrace each other. I believe though, his speech is in that direction…
April 7, 2009 Leave a Comment
Obama’s speech in Prague is among the most important events of this year. Global nuclear disarmament will not be easy, particularly in the Middle East. It’s hard to imagine India, Pakistan and chief amongst them Israel, give up their nuclear arms, but it’s worth trying. Iranians also should understand that this is the best path to achieve nuclear energy and make sure neighbors would not go after nuclear arsenal.
April 5, 2009 2 Comments